The upcoming indie platformer Project Maiden provides a brilliant subversive twist on the action/adventure genre. In most ways Project Maiden resembles a Mega Man game where you choose which order you'd like to tackle the various stages in, then go about surviving a bunch of side-scrolling platforming challenges. The catch is that instead of gaining a new power after felling each boss, you'll lose a power.
"The mechanics are based heavily on loss and a major theme of the story is what we are stronger for losing and what we're weaker for losing," explained developer Kevin B. Cole in his pitch video on Kickstarter. The story is about loss, and focuses on a mortal woman named Imogen who inherits the power of the last god on the planet and must negotiate a truce between two warring clans. Or not negotiate a truce as you can use your powers for evil. It's your call.
So what are these powers, you ask? They actually sound really clever and not just another name for "freeze ray" or "power bomb." Instead, you've got Rockjump, which erects a mound of earth that can be used as cover, gives you a platform to jump off of, or propels you higher into the air like a spring. Transmute allows you to turn enemies to stone, bring statues to life, and scout the terrain as you can control your projectile while it flies through the air. Finally, Stoneskin is exactly what it sounds like: defensive armour that impedes your maneuverability, but allows you to shake the ground when activated mid-jump. As you can imagine, not having some of these powers will limit which shortcuts and routes are available to you, but it also suggests high replay value as you'll discover new ways to negotiate each level.
Amazingly, Cole and his rag-tag gang of contributors are planning to release Project Maiden for free on PC, Mac and Linux. "Download it from my website, torrent it, share it, whatever works for you," said Cole on the Kickstarter page. "There will be a suggested donation on my site but other than that, it's open to the public."
Of course, games don't grow on trees, ya know, so Cole could use the funds. Project Maiden has already surpassed its $9000 goal, but there are a host of stretch goals as well. It just swung past the $11K mark and greenlit a New Game+ mode, but at $15K a new story will be added called Project Maiden: Gaiden.
Backers who donate more than $1 will get their name in the credits, $15 pledges will get beta access and a soundtrack, and donations of $80 or more will guarantee your likeness in the game.
The current Project Maiden Kickstarter tally comes to $11,620 with less than six hours to go before its 8 a.m. GMT deadline.
Project Maiden is estimated for release in July 2014.